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Thursday, October 27, 2022

Peter Thiel's CPAC for racists - an update

The Peter Thiel-lead conference featuring many speakers who are racists and supporters of race pseudoscience is officially called the Stanford Academic Freedom Conference.

The College Fix, an organization funded by many right-wing plutocrats like Charles Koch, is claiming the conference will unite "big name conservatives and liberals," using this as evidence:

The event does include many thinkers who identify as either Democrat, traditionally liberal, or centrist, including New York University Professor Jonathan Haidt and the president of the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, Greg Lukianoff. The two co-authored “The Coddling of the American Mind.”

Another panelist is Jerry Coyne, professor emeritus of biology at the University of Chicago, who maintains the popular blog Why Evolution Is True.

“Be aware that some speakers have been extensively canceled or demonized, but I refused to be tarred by going to the same meeting with them, so please refrain from that,” Coyne wrote on his blog last week.
We know that Charles Koch loves fake bi-partisanship. But in fact the conference is not so bi-partisan, according to Inside Higher Education:
Conference organizers told FIRE that they’d invited numerous progressives to participate, Perrino also said, but over time “more conservatives said yes, and very few of the big-name progressives said yes. The political polarization and tribalism is dispiriting.”

Abbot said that organizers invited several dozen progressives who’d previously expressed a “negative view” of academic freedom, who ultimately declined.

Marinovic said that "we invited many academics who have argued for some kind of restrictions on academic speech to present and debate their views, and all of them declined."

David Palumbo-Liu, Louise Hewlett Nixon Professor at Stanford and professor of comparative literature, who’s publicly opposed the conference, said he wasn’t asked to participate, but that a few of his colleagues had been asked and “objected to the lopsidedness of the program. The organizers placed them on panels where it was clear they were there only as tokens.”

Livestreaming the conference doesn’t change much at all, Palumbo-Liu added.

“This in no way solves the problem of the inability of those not present being able to substantially question or interact with speakers. That is, it does not reflect a change of thinking whatsoever, nor does it cover up the original intent of the conference.”

An organization like College Fix, which exists to promote the views of right-wing plutocrats isn't going to mention that Jonathan Haidt is a long-time promoter of race pseudoscience, including most recently defending a highly speculative paper about intelligence written by a pair of right-wing racists

Greg Lukianoff is on the right-wing plutocrat payroll via Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (formerly "Education"), founded by Ayn Rand-lovers Charles Kors and Thor Halvorssen, and libertarian Harvey Silverglate who writes for the Thiel-funded racist rag Quillette

I predict that the mainstream media and many on social media will deem the entire conference a conclave of bigots, racists, and transphobes because a few people on the schedule have been called those names. Indeed, Steve Pinker himself has been the object of criticism, and has been called a racist; and I (deemed “someone with a solid reputation who speaks his mind and is honest in his arguments”) have also been called a transphobe and a racist. Hardly anybody is immune!
But as my recent piece on CPAC for racists demonstrates, most of the speakers are either racists, supporters of race pseudoscience, or take money from one right-wing racist plutocrat or another, or often more than one.

And it's likely that I will find similar issues with the speakers I haven't yet reviewed, which I will have to do soon.

There are few people on the American political scene at the moment who are worse than Peter Thiel, starting with his support for evil monster Donald Trump who tried to destroy American democracy and still might succeed. 

Steven Pinker appears to dislike Trump. But for some reason that doesn't stop him from participating in a Thiel festival sponsored by the Stanford Graduate School of Business, to which Thiel must certainly donate. And Thiel has funded Quillette, which Steven Pinker loves.

A man's love for race pseudoscience will lead him to accepting some very strange, but very wealthy bedfellows.

The fact that Peter Thiel, an opponent of democracy in general and American democracy in particular is headlining this event tells you everything you need to know about the deliberate right-wing partisanship built right into the "Stanford Academic Freedom Conference." 

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